Engaging the Media
Tuberculosis is a high burden disease and India carries the highest burden of this highly communicable disease. For the scale of the disease, however, TB remains under-reported. The voice of the media is vital in reaching out to the masses as well as the policymakers. The REACH Lilly MDR -TB Partnership Media initiative was launched in 2009 to encourage and support better reporting on TB. REACH works closely with journalists across India to improve the quality and frequency of media reporting on TB. We have initiated numerous ways of engaging with the media under the project, including local and national level Media Fellowships, and Media Awards.
Some facets of the programme are:
- Annual media awards for English and local language journalists to recognize exemplary reporting on tuberculosis;
- A unique media fellowship programme for mid-career journalists reporting in local languages to undertake in-depth analysis of various aspects of TB in India;
- Trainings and briefings for working journalists to put forth and pitch ‘newsworthy’ aspects of tuberculosis;
- Workshops for media students to introduce them to health reporting.
- An informative, dynamic web site with regularly updated information and resources, specifically meant for journalists.
Instituted in 2010, the REACH Lilly MDR-TB Partnership Media Awards highlight the vital role played by the media in informing the public and decision-makers about TB prevention, control and care. Awards are given in two categories –
English reporting and local language reporting. The sixth edition of the REACH Lilly MDR-TB Partnership Media Awards was held in New Delhi in March 2016 and co-hosted by REACH, Lilly and USAID. In 2015-16, REACH received 23 entries from 13 journalists in the English category and 28 entries from 16 journalists in the Local Language category. In all, we received 51 valid entries from 29 journalists. Four journalists were awarded at the occasion, two in each English and local language categories.
In the English category, the winners were Sonal Matharu for her comprehensive and lucid story titled ‘Dying in the dust bowl’ published in Governance Now and R. Prasad for his story ‘Child-friendly paediatric TB drugs will be a game changer’, published in The Hindu.
In the Local Language category, the winners were Reji Joseph for his article titled ‘Kerala trailing migrant Tuberculosis patients’ published in Rashtra Deepika and Prashant Kumar Dubey for his detailed story titled ‘Nutrition and TB: Essential but Ignored Relationship’ published in Dainik Bhaskar.
The day of the awards ceremony also saw the unveiling of a new initiative by REACH – a discussion series TB Centrestage, a platform to facilitate focused and outcome-oriented discussions, incubate and nurture fresh approaches and foster innovative thinking to eradicate TB.
The REACH Lilly MDR-TB Partnership Media Fellowships provide working journalists from both local and national language newspapers support to undertake in-depth analysis of various aspects of TB in India. The Fellowships are intended to encourage journalists to explore TB as a critical public health concern in India, by identifying and developing stories that remain untold.
For our 2016 National Media Fellowships for Reporting on TB, Disha Shetty, Senior Correspondent, DNA has been chosen as the National Fellow. Shetty is covering rural TB in Maharashtra and her long-form series is being covered by DNA newspaper and online edition.
The 2016-17 batch of Local Language Fellows has been selected and their Fellowship will commence after a two-day long orientation workshop to be held in Chennai in November. The 10 Fellows have been chosen from prominent publications across India including from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Assam, and Kerala.
Fellows to Trainers initiative
REACH also conducts a ‘Fellows to Trainers’ initiative to involve former and current recipients of the Fellowship program as trainers at media and journalism schools across the country. This year, workshops for students were organized by our former fellows Athar Bhat, Raju Kumar, Jhilam Karanjai, Rubee Das, and Mukesh Kejariwal in several journalism colleges.
To find out more about our media-related work, please visit www.media4tb.org